Findings also provide clues to why some people experience more stomach upset during pregnancy. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine found that probiotics significantly improve the symptoms of pregnancy-related nausea, vomiting and constipation. The findings were published in the journal Nutrients.
Nausea and vomiting affect about 85% of pregnancies and can significantly impact quality of life, particularly during early pregnancy.
Probiotics are thought to support the community of different microbes, often referred to as the “gut microbiome,” found in the gastrointestinal tract.
During pregnancy, hormones like estrogen and progesterone increase, bringing about many physical changes. These increases can also change the gut microbiome, which likely affects the digestive system functions and causes unwanted symptoms like nausea, vomiting and constipation.
The study lasted for 16 days. A total of 32 participants took a probiotic capsule twice a day for six days and then took two days off. They then repeated the cycle.
The probiotics were available over-the-counter and mainly contained Lactobacillus, a type of good bacteria. Each capsule contained approximately 10 billion live cultures at the time of manufacture.
Participants kept 17 daily observations of their symptoms during the duration of the study, for a total of 535 observations for the researchers to statistically assess.
What the researchers found was that taking the probiotic significantly reduced nausea and vomiting. Nausea hours (the number of hours participants felt nauseous) were reduced by 16%, and the number of times they vomited was reduced by 33%. Probiotic intake also significantly improved symptoms related to quality of life, such as fatigue, poor appetite and difficulty maintaining normal social activities, as scored by questionnaires.
Probiotics were also found to reduce constipation significantly.
Release date: 02 December 2021
Source: University of California – Davis Health